Michigan linebacker Cameron McGrone was the New England Patriots‘ fifth-round pick in the NFL Draft last month. Bill Belichick is excited to get the talented linebacker onto his defense, but admits that may not come until next season.
McGrone suffered a torn ACL in Michigan’s Nov. 21 win over Rutgers. While some players have bounced back from that injury in the amount of time that it would take for McGrone to return to the field to start the year, that’s no guarantee here.
“We’re not really sure what the expectation of availability is for him, but we’re prepared certainly to not have him available this year,” Belichick said this week, via ESPN.com. “There are no false expectations here. He should have a good recovery and be a good player; we’ll just have to see what the timing is on that.”
In 11 games for the Wolverines as a sophomore in 2019, McGrone racked up 65 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. He had 26 tackles (two TFLs) and half a sack in five games in 2020.
Story: Fifth-round LB Cameron McGrone (recovering from torn ACL) might not be available to the Patriots until 2022, as he follows other Belichick-era picks who arrived with medical/health questions.
Some of those were big hits … others, not so much. https://t.co/5X7Yfl5QfS
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) May 11, 2021
As ESPN’s Mike Reiss points out, Belichick is very aggressive when it comes to drafting injured players. There have been misses, but also some major hits thanks to this strategy.
The most notable is 2010 second round selection of Rob Gronkowski, who missed the entire 2009 season due to a disc injury. He has been an injury-riddled player throughout his NFL career as well, but has probably been the most dangerous weapon the league has seen at tight end when healthy, and is a locked-in Hall of Famer.
The legendary New England Patriots coach has also hit on Marcus Cannon, and Sony Michel has been a fairly productive running back coming off injury, while others like 2014 first rounder Dominique Easley and 2016 fourth rounder Malcolm Mitchell had largely forgettable Pats careers.